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SXSW Music 2014

Impact of Electronica in Pre-Katrina New Orleans

An 808 in the cradle of jazz. That is how some picture electronic music coexisting in a city better known for Louis Armstrong. Yet during the 1990s & early 2000s, New Orleans was one of a handful of cities in America where electronica enjoyed a following rarely seen outside of Europe. Although a diaspora occurred following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans once contained a vibrant community of electronica producers, DJs, promoters & fans.

This talk will illustrate the unique combination of factors & personalities that led to the rise of electronica in New Orleans. With political, legal & cultural implications, New Orleans became ground zero for many of the wins & losses that define the genre still today. From the carnival-themed raves thrown at the State Palace Theatre during Mardi Gras, to the bootstrapped events that gave birth to Kickstarter, New Orleans proved to be fertile ground for those with creative & entrepreneurial streaks who shared a mutual love of the music & its culture.

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  1. What were the forces that led to a thriving electronic music culture in New Orleans?
  2. Who were some of the luminaries who sparked the proliferation of electronica in New Orleans?
  3. How did electronic music lead to or facilitate other culturally significant non-music initiatives in New Orleans?
  4. Were vibrant jazz & hip hop communities in New Orleans a net negative or positive for its electronic music artists & fans?
  5. What lasting influence derived from electronica in the city have we seen persist post-Katrina?


  • Juston Western, Director of Operations, ChaiONE


Juston Western, Director of Operations, ChaiONE

Meta Information:

  • Event: Music
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Historical
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